By Amanda Amsel
The Franklin Township trustees are moving forward with putting a 5.89-mill fire levy on the November ballot. At a recent meeting, the trustees passed a resolution asking township residents for the levy that would generate $850,000 a year.
The trustees stressed the importance of this levy.
“This is it. If this doesn’t pass, we aren’t asking for another levy,” said Don Cook, township trustee. “If this levy fails, we will be closing the firehouse on Frank Road in 2017, plain and simple.”
At the meeting the trustees also approved a resolution to close the firehouse, station 193, at the end of 2017 if the fire levy fails.
“We just don’t have the budget to support these firefighters without this levy,” said John Fleshman, trustee. “In fact, I worry we aren’t asking for enough.”
Fleshman said those concerns stem from a conversation the trustees had with the fire chief in which they were told this levy amount will only sustain the fire department for three to four years. However, the township doesn’t want to ask for more right now because they don’t want to put too much of a tax burden on residents.
According to both Cook and Fleshman, the township still hopes to move forward with a JEDD to make up for the money the township will still be short in the coming years.
“We also hope down the road to do a township wide levy and get some tax revenue from property owners who have annexed out of the township,” Cook said. “Right now what we are asking for is going to be tight, but we are trying to make it work for the sake of the residents.”
The five-year timed levy the township is currently asking for would cost township residents approximately $120 a year per $100,000 home. However, Cook was quick to note that most of the homes in the township are worth less than that, so residents should expect to pay less.
The township firefighters plan on passing out literature to educate residents on the importance of this levy, as well as potentially holding public meetings.
“We just want people to understand how important it is that we pass this levy,” Cook said. “If this levy doesn’t pass, residents will have longer wait times for crucial emergency services.”
Officials say that if the fire levy fails the township will see the impact almost immediately as at least 10 firefighters will be laid off as soon as a staffing grant the township currently is receiving expires.
For more information on the Franklin Township Fire Department levy, visit www.franklin-township.com.